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Remembering Vincent Van Gogh: Facts About Painter Whose Birth Anniversary is Observed as World Bipolar Day

Vincent van Gogh is popularly remembered for his creation, The Starry Night.  (Image by Shutterstock)

Vincent van Gogh is popularly remembered for his creation, The Starry Night. (Image by Shutterstock)

Born on March 30, 1853 in the village of Groot-Zundert in Holland, van Gogh left this world at an early age of 37 years.

One of the most influential and famous artists of his time and for years to follow, Vincent van Gogh is popularly remembered for his creation, The Starry Night. While his painting may have inspired people in many ways, not many know the fact that the piece was created when Van Gogh suffered from Bipolar Disorder. Born on March 30, 1853 in the village of Groot-Zundert in Holland, van Gogh left this world at an early age of 37 years.

As we remember him on his birth anniversary, also celebrated as World Bipolar Day, here is a look at some of the facts about the painter.

  • Before finding his passion in painting, van Gogh took up several jobs till the age of 27. However, when he left everything to take up painting, there was no looking back. He created 900 paintings in just 10 years, along with 1,100 works on paper.
  • The artist was diagnosed to be suffering from Bipolar Disorder after his death, and not much is known about when he first started dealing with the mental health situation. However, his symptoms included hallucinations, depression, and seizures – turning quite severe at times.
  • Psychiatrists believe that he might have suffered from either of these — schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, syphilis, hypergraphia, Geschwind syndrome, and temporal lobe epilepsy. Some even consider it to be a combination of all.
  • Being from an upper-middle-class family, van Gogh’s luxurious life depended heavily on bread, coffee, and alcohol.
  • Not much is known about the ear incident, but there have been several stories about the same. While some believe that the artist chopped it off, others believe it was his friend Gauguin who hurt van Gogh during a fight.
  • His famous work, The Starry Night was created when van Gogh was admitted in the Saint-Paul-de-Mausole hospital, which was an ‘asylum’ back them. He was diagnosed with ‘acute mania with generalized delirium’.
first published:March 30, 2021, 11:02 IST